The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Category Archives: cleaning products

July 24, 2017

Review – Guppy Friend microfiber catching laundry bag

In March, I wrote about microfiber laundry pollution from synthetic clothing and mentioned that soon there would be a special bag available called Guppy Friend to catch those microfibers before they are rinsed down the drain. Well, the bag is now available and the company sent me one to test out.

Guppy Friend is a product developed by the campaign STOP! MICRO WASTE, a German non-profit founded by a group of surfers and nature lovers to find solutions to the microfiber pollution problem.  Guppy Friend is just one of their projects, as they recognize that it is only one small part of the solution to a huge problem that will require systemic change on a massive scale, not just a few people conscientiously washing their polyester fleece in a special bag.  But for those of you conscientious folk out there who do wear synthetic clothing and want to prevent the fibers from escaping into our waterways, here is one small solution.

Guppy Friend is a synthetic… Read the rest

July 24, 2017

How to Make Liquid Soap Nuts Laundry Soap Plus Other Plastic-Free Laundry Ideas

Soap nuts laundry liquid

The last time I wrote about doing laundry without plastic was June 17, 2009.  Obama was our new president, and Michael Jackson was still alive (he died a week later).  It’s time for an update.

Plastic-Free Soap Nuts Laundry Soap

Back in the day, we used powdered Ecover laundry detergent, in part because it came in a recyclable cardboard box and was the only brand I’d ever found that came with a cardboard scoop instead of a plastic one.  Those days are over.  Ecover switched to a plastic scoop (why does anyone need a new scoop with every box anyway?), and I no longer recommend it.

There are lots of recipes online for making your own laundry detergent with combinations of various ingredients, but the one that I’ve found to be the simplest to make and work the best in cold water is a liquid soap that requires only 2 ingredients:  soap nuts and water.  You can also add essential oil(s), but that’s totally optional.

The brand… Read the rest

February 5, 2017

New Service Delivers Refillable Products in Glass Containers to Your Door

Fillgood.co refillable liquid products

So, you’ve been reading about ways to reduce your plastic use, including bringing back empty bottles and containers of personal care and cleaning products to refill, and you think, “I’ve got to try that sometime.”  (The BULK mobile site can help you find refill locations.) But that means planning ahead and remembering to bring your empty containers back to the store.  Once you get in the habit of doing it, remembering is no big deal.  But getting started can be difficult for folks just beginning the plastic-free, zero waste journey.  If only there were a service that would pick up those empties and deliver freshly filled ones right to your door.

If you live in the Bay Area, Stéphanie Regni can help!  Her company, Fillgood.co, delivers refilled glass containers of natural personal care and cleaning products to local customers.  I paid a visit to Stéphanie at her home in Albany, CA, last month, and chatted… Read the rest

December 1, 2009

Scotch Brite Scrubbers: Dishwashing or Greenwashing?

Several months ago, while accompanying some friends on a shopping trip to Target, I came across a new product line that seemed at first glance to be a good sign: Scotch Brite “Greener Clean” products. I picked up a box of natural fiber non-scratch scour pads, biodegradable bamboo wipes, and a natural bamboo cleaning cloth. I didn’t read the fine print until I got home. Too bad.

All three products are packaged in recycled cardboard with no plastic packaging. Great. But the “natural fiber scour pad,” while containing 50% natural agave plant, is also 50% plastic. A phone call to 3M confirmed that. Because of the plastic, the pad is not biodegradable or compostable as I had originally assumed. (I’m not such a bad reader normally. Really!)

The bamboo products are not as green as you might think either.

According to an FTC report this past summer, bamboo rayon is no different from any other rayon product. Its “manufacturing… Read the rest

November 4, 2009

Baking Soda: So Many Uses; So Little Money… and Plastic

I hear people bemoaning the high cost of “going green.”  And while organic food does cost more than its chemical-laden counterpart, I’m here to tell you that it’s easier to spend more for healthy food when you save money in other ways.  We can skip many of the green cleaners, deodorizers, and personal care products, most of which are fairly expensive.  To that end, baking soda is our friend. (Ha! I rhymed.)

What’s so great about baking soda?

1) It’s cheap. On Safeway.com, a 1 lb box is $1.40. But I save money and packaging by buying it from the bulk bin at my local natural foods store, filling up my own reusable cloth bag.  That way, it’s only 89¢/lb!

2) It’s simple. One of  the ways I try to protect my health and that of the planet is to buy products that contain the lowest number of different ingredients possible.  Baking soda is just about as simple as you can get.

3)  It’s non-toxic. Need… Read the rest

October 1, 2009

I’m 44 Years Old and Finally Got a Rack!

I was kind of a late bloomer, always jealous of other girls’ racks and fearing I’d never have one myself. Even my younger sisters got theirs ahead of me. No, I didn’t suddenly pump myself full of plastic to impress the boys. It’s my new Drying Rack, people! What the heck did you think?

Committed more than ever to saving energy after seeing The Age of Stupid last week, I was determined to figure out a way to hang dry at least some of our clothes. The trouble is, we don’t have a yard for installing the kind of contraption Linda has, and we don’t have room in the house to put one up either. Our laundry room is basically the back hallway which has barely enough room for Michael and me to squeeze past each other. We also don’t have the right kind of wall space to put up one of those expanding dry racks.

So I was happy to find a different kind of drying rack. Called the Best Drying Rack, the unit is constructed of maple and corrosion… Read the rest

August 13, 2009

Juniperseed Mercantile Makes Great Plastic-free Products

When I start to feel depressed about the state of the world, I think about you guys, the folks who read this blog, those that I know and those I’ve yet to meet, and I realize how grateful I am to be part of this online community of people trying to make a difference. So I was tickled a month ago when Fake Plastic Fish reader Tiffany, proprietor of the shop Juniperseed Mercantile (formerly Picnic Basket Crafts) emailed me to ask some questions about plastic packaging.

Tiffany is a school teacher by profession and in her “spare time” sells healthy cleaning and skincare products that she makes herself, trying very hard to reduce the amount of plastic packaging. She doesn’t even use plastic tape, and recently posted a Plastic-Free Green Product Packaging Tutorial on her blog, demonstrating exactly how to use paper tape. But she’s stuck when it comes to containers. As she wrote me,

…I can’t seem to get around… Read the rest

April 10, 2009

Plastic-Free Soap Nuts

UPDATE: Sadly, LaundryTree has closed its doors.  For updated information on where to buy plastic-free soap nuts and all of our plastic-free laundry methods, please visit this post: How to Make Liquid Soap Nuts Laundry Soap Plus Other Plastic-Free Laundry Ideas.  But don’t leave just yet!  This is still a great story about how to get companies to change their packaging.  

The original post…

Put on your fuzzy slippers. Grab a mug of cocoa. Sit back, and let me tell you a little story about why it’s worth it for us to ask for what we want. There’s free stuff at the end, so hang in with me.

Have you ever done your laundry with soap nuts or been curious to find out how they work? Soap nuts grow on a tree called Sapindus mukorossi (Chinese Soapberry) and contain saponin, a natural surfactant which foams just like soap. I’ve wanted to try soap nuts since I first spotted them in a natural grocery store a couple of years ago but… Read the rest

March 4, 2009

Clothesnik saves plastic, if only dry cleaners would use it!

Way back in October, my friend Doug sent me a Clothesnik canvas garment bag to try out. I finally had a chance to use it last week. We haven’t taken clothes to the cleaners since July of last year! Unfortunately, it took a while to find a green cleaner that would actually use the bag. More on that later. First, I want to tell you about the Clothesnik.

The Clothesnik is a 100% cotton garment bag and laundry bag in one. Toss dirty clothes into it and tie up the bag using the strings at the bottom. Or use it clean as a garment bag to replace the disposable plastic bags the cleaners give out. If you don’t want to pay for the laundry service to clean the Clothesnik bag, wash it at home and return with it to pick up the clean clothes. Or don’t use it as a laundry bag. There are just so many options.

Our problem was finding a cleaner to use it correctly in the first place. A while back I wrote about green cleaner Blue Sky, which uses CO2 to clean clothes, one of the… Read the rest

February 20, 2009

House Cleaning, Carpet Cleaning, & Kid-Safe Chemicals

HOUSE CLEANING

I don’t think our toilet was this clean when we first moved in to our apartment. I personally have scrubbed and scrubbed with a brush and been unable to remove the mineral stains. Not that I’m a great housekeeper. I’m not. In fact, I suck. And Michael does his best, but you know, we just have other priorities. So Monday, to celebrate President’s Day, we had our place cleaned from top to bottom by the eco-friendly members of Natural Home Cleaning Professionals.

I say “members” because Natural Home Cleaning is a worker-owned cooperative whose goal is to support families to be economically self-sufficient. The company serves the San Francisco East Bay from Southern Richmond to Fremont. Workers are trained in natural cleaning techniques, encouraged to start with the least toxic products (like vinegar and water) and slowly work up to stronger products as needed. The strongest cleaner used is … Read the rest